Global airlines body IATA today said it expects India's air passenger traffic to grow to 442 million by 2035 with 322 million new air travellers, amid the domestic aviation market growing by over 20 per cent for more than a year now.
The Geneva-based International Air Transport Association (IATA) in its latest 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast has also projected India to be the third largest aviation market by 2026, replacing the UK.
Globally, the demand for air travel will nearly double up to 7.2 billion passengers from 3.8 billion air travellers in the next two decades at an annual compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7 per cent, it predicted.
According to IATA, the five fastest-growing markets in terms of additional passengers per year over the forecast period would be China, the US, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
India will be among the five fastest-increasing markets, after China and the US, in terms of additional passengers per year over the forecast period with 322 million new passengers among the total of 442 million flyers during the period (2035), it said.
IATA had last year said that the air passenger traffic was likely to grow to 378 million passengers by 2034 with 275 million new travellers among them.
India posted a record growth in domestic air passenger traffic in August this year with the number of passengers flown by local carriers rising to 83.51 million, thereby logging a growth of 24 per cent, the highest across the major aviation markets.
The number of passengers flown by the Indian airlines stood at 81.09 million in the January-December period last year, a jump of 20.34 per cent from 67.38 million they had flown in 2014 on the back of lower fuel prices and heavily discounted airfares offered by the domestic carriers during the period.
The forecast for passenger growth confirms that the biggest driver of demand will be the Asia-Pacific region, IATA said, adding that it is expected to be the source of more than half the new passengers over the next 20 years.
"China will displace the US as the world's largest aviation market (defined by traffic to, from and within the country) around 2029. India will displace the UK for the third place in 2026, while Indonesia enters the top ten at the expense of Italy," IATA said in its forecast.
"Growth will also increasingly be driven within developing markets.
"Over the past decade the developing world's share of total passenger traffic has risen from 24 per cent to nearly 40 per cent, and this trend is set to continue," IATA said.